Although General Mattis insisted that America’s missile strike in Syria last week did not mark the start of a new military campaign, he said there was “no doubt” the Assad regime was responsible.
General Mattis said: “If they use chemical weapons, they are going to pay very, very stiff price.”
He added: “It was very clear the Assad regime planned it, orchestrated it and executed it. Beyond that, we can’t say right now.”
General Mattis said Trump's administration will retaliate if he launches more attacks
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's meet and greets
Sun, March 19, 2017
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Prince Charles greets Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad at St. James Palace in London. 17 December 2002
The 66-year-old retired Marine Corps general launched the press conference pointing at the screen and condemning Assad’s regime.
He claimed the administration “will not passively stand by” while he “blithely ignores international law”.
US officials have claimed military radar and surveillance systems detected the gas attack shortly before it occurred.
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At 6:55am, local time the US military saw the jet drop a bomb over the town before returning to Shayrat; and within minutes, images began appearing on social media depicting victims, many of them children, shivering and gasping for air.
The accusations drawn from a US National Security Council report claim Moscow and Damascus released “false narratives” in response to the Syrian gas attack.
Russia even went a step further to “shield” an ally that had used weapons of mass destruction, the report claims.
Donald Trump said US isn't going to war in Syria
General Mattis was keen to avoid accusing Russia of supposed involvement. But the Russian foreign minister said relations between Russia and the US are at their worst.
In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry said: "It's clear Russian-US relations have never been so difficult since end of Cold War."